Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review 2015

It’s New Year’s Eve already? I swear it was just Christmas. I am one of those people that loses that last week of the year ... Every. Time. It doesn’t help that I am also one of those people that gets seriously stressed out when the daylight is almost nonexistent, and that I’m one of those people (read: mom) that does EVERYTHING for the holidays. But I digress ...

This year has been one heck of a chapter in the book that is the Schueder life. Let’s see, what happened??? (Cue the Wayne and Garth flashback fingers.)

1.) Moving to Tennessee is still the best move that we’ve consciously made (meaning there were no orders to move, we weren’t helping family with payments, nor did The Hubbs find a house to flip). That being said, knowing we’d found our permanent settling place, we got itchy to be homeowners again. What started out as casual browsing in January became pretty intense searching come February. But we did find a place. An awesome place. It’s just over 5 acres of awesome.

2.) Less than a week after closing on our forever home, we suffered a terrible loss. My father-in-law, the girls’ Papa, passed away. He was in a word--formidable. The man had a presence like none other. And, boy, was he stubborn! I know where the Hubbs got it from! But, he loved us, and we love him. He and I may not have always seen eye to eye, but he was one of my strongest supporters. I hope he knew how much I appreciated that. I think one of the things I’ll miss most about him will be The Hubbs and him working together and yelling. I always said, it was okay for them to holler at each other like that, because it meant less yelling from both of them at home afterwards.

3.) We started Rocky Pond Orchard. Well, technically, we’re not an orchard yet (you have to have at least 5 fruit trees, I think, to be considered an orchard), but we will be in the spring. The farm has been started and keeps growing by leaps and bounds (literally, you should see the goats!). We have animals I’ve always wanted (chickens), animals I never thought I wanted (meat rabbits), and animals that were NEVER near my radar (hogs--I mean, we’re from Iowa. I was all hogged-out after that!). We’ve hatched eggs in an incubator, which was something I hadn’t even dreamed of doing but was so cool to watch! And one of our rabbits just had kits a couple weeks ago. I will admit, eating those fuzzies is going to be a stretch for me. Also, I’m STILL getting used to saying I live on a farm.

4.) This is the first full year of homeschooling for the girls and me. It was a bit harrowing trying to find curriculum for the girls, but I think it’s working out. They’re excited to get started every morning (except for language arts, lol), and of course they’re EXTRA excited when we have field trips! Keeping them home, was also a great decision for our family. 😁

5.) Other little goings on:
  •  We had our first visitors to the farm! A girlfriend of mine and her little family visited over 4th of July, and my mom came for Christmas.
  •  I’m leading Small’s Daisy Girl Scout troop and helping with our multi-level troop overall. It’s a lot of work, but tons of fun and so rewarding to be able to share with my daughters.
  •  The girls participated in Upward Soccer again.
  •  The Hubbs finally got his Lifetime Hunting license and went hunting for the first time in, basically, eons. Unfortunately, he didn’t get anything. 😒
  •  I read over 100 books this year, and I’m pretty sure Medium isn’t too far behind me. I love that all my girls are readers, too!
  • Small has already finished her 1st grade math book. I’m so proud of her! I guess I should order her next book soon, huh?
  •  On top of the livestock, we added 3 dogs to our family this year. A pit mix, Trixie, and 2 heeler/Pyrenees/Labradors, Zeus and Tasha. 

So that’s our year in a nutshell. It was both exhausting and exhilarating. And, I can’t wait to see the kind of growth 2016 has in store for us. (Get it? Growth? We live on a farm. I know, it’s even funnier after I explain it.)

Much Love and Best Wishes for the New Year,

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

That Crazy Chicken Lady

So the first livestock we bought for the farm were chickens. We bought some Rhode Island Reds and Golden Laced Wyandottes to be exact. And then we discovered that we were practically the definition of Newbies when it came to chickens. (Uh duh, we're newbies to this WHOLE farming thing!)

We started out with them in a 10x10 dog kennel, and wrapped the lower third of the chain link with additional chicken wire. We had a small coop, a feeder & waterer and thought we were good. And then the chickens started disappearing one by one. It wasn't until my fourth chicken was gone that we realized we had both a cat and raccoon problem. AND we never closed off the top of the kennel--oops!

 After setting a live trap at night, and closing off the top of the chickens' enclosure we didn't lose anymore chickens overnight, but did lose a couple here and there during the day while they were free range--damn hawks!

And then something horrible happened. I left to run errands one afternoon and when I came back, only one of my Rhode Island Reds could be found. I freaked. Like crazy chicken lady with my head cut off freaked. And then during my practically hyperventilating race around the yard, I found a chicken, and then I found another, and another, and another. They all looked like they had just keeled over where they were. My poor babies.

Who doesn't love Peep Peep Pe-Cheep?

 I wracked my brain for hours trying to figure out what the heck had caused them all to just fall over.  Then when my head started to hurt, and I was starting to get tunnel vision, I remembered The Husband had sprayed around the house for carpenter bees. He used a chemical spray right where my chickens were foraging! And, of course, they gobbled the toxic bees right up. It was a sad day at the pond, for sure.

Buddy--My favorite rooster.

After a brief mourning period, I started the search for new chickens and discovered my super sweet English Orpingtons. But the best part was, in buying new chicks our family also made some super sweet, new friends.

I mean seriously, he SNUGGLES!

My chickens taught me some dos, some don'ts and brought us some great people.

And then there was Cluckingham Palace. I am so spoiled sometimes. :)

Can you love a coop like you love your house?

Much Love,

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

We Bought the Farm

You know, they say what a difference a day can make. So, you can about imagine how much of a difference 6 or 7 months can make. That’s how long it’s been since we’ve moved to the farm. Seven action (and animal) packed months. 

It's our forever home--finally!

This spring, we bought our forever home. Anyone that’s moved even half as many times as The Husband and I have can understand how exciting this is for me. Especially those of you that garden. Close your eyes and picture for me if you will, digging up the ground, planting perennials (from seed EVEN!) and then leaving before you ever get to see them thrive. Such was my life before we bought our home. Twice (not once, but TWICE) we made three different moves within a year. Ouch!

I love our hills.

Then late last winter, we started the hunt. Seriously, the biggest headache I've ever suffered. House hunting is the worst! In all honesty, when we came across the listing for our home, we passed it over. Often. A lot. Then on a whim, one day when we were driving our poor Realtor all over Mcminn County being disappointed by listing after listing, we wound up a mile away from our current address and decided, what the heck? Why not? Let’s take a look, what have we got to lose?

How gorgeous, right???

I fell in love almost immediately, The Husband fell in major like. After a couple more viewings, it was clear this would be our home. Our last home. 

Welcome to Rocky Pond. :)

 Much Love,

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Life, It Happens.

Hey y'all,

Well, I think I've learned my lesson. Do not start a traveling photo challenge at the onset of winter. Between the holidays, the cold, and people getting sick, I haven't had a chance to go anywhere (okay, so maybe it only feels that way) in months.

I've decided I'm just going to start the whole darn thing over again when it warms up. In the meantime, there will be many, many things for me to tell y'all about.

Until then,

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